Monday, November 30, 2015

The Ramey Memo Scans

We had always planned to provide all the information we could about our research into the Ramey Memo. Our original hope was that we would be able to clarify the text and then provide the methodology and the scans to those interested in verifying our work. We had hoped to be able to resolve this one bit of UFO history and believed that with today’s technology, we would be successful.

Unfortunately, we weren’t as successful as we had hoped. While the new scans were an improvement over those made in the past, they did not result in the clarity we had hoped. Thinking of the success of the Roswell Slides Research Group in reading the placard revealed in the Not Roswell Slides fiasco, we opened the research doors to others. The whole group of scans, using various techniques, lighting and filters came to something like 27 gigabytes… maybe not overly large in the world today, but large enough to make sharing the scans over the Internet something of a problem.

Isaac Koi offered to help, and with the assistance of Lance Moody who used his personal accounts, Koi was able to acquire and put the scans on the Internet. For those interested in this, they can be found here:

or here

I will remind you all of the copyright restrictions on the use of these scans, as worked out in cooperation with the legal department at the University of Texas at Arlington.

These scans are available for noncommercial use and are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution – NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You must provide attribution, you must give appropriate credit and indicate if changes were made and you must not suggest the licensor endorses you or your use.
Credit and citation is as follows:

Kevin Randle, David Rudiak, Simon Schollum and Jerry Morelock for scanning the negative and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, Special Collections, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, where the negative is housed.

We are interested in any results. Please let us know what you found and how you accomplished it. All information will be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Death Bed Confessions

As I was working to get information arranged for a web site that would feature many of the new scans of the Ramey Memo, I came across an article, “Part II: Death Bed Confessions – Roswell 1999: What’s New?” My first thought was that legally, what they were talking about wasn’t actually a death bed confession since we weren’t dealing with a crime and some of the people seemed to be old but not necessarily on their death beds. But why split a legal hair when there was so much else wrong here.

I now understand why so many of the skeptics simply turn up their noses at new revelations about the Roswell case. Overlooking that many of the “new” witnesses didn’t see anything themselves but merely heard others talking about the crash and those who might have seen something are simply not named.

Writing in the MUFON UFO Journal for June 1999, Tom Carey tells us, “As participants in the Roswell events of 1947expire at an increasing rate, it should be expected that we encounter more confessions of the ‘deathbed’ [at least he had the good sense to put quotes around the word] variety, and such is indeed the case.”

Okay, I’m willing to give him a pass on this death bed nonsense. It does sound dramatic and a lot of us have used the term in the past when talking about some of this. But then he slides off the rails with:

A woman whose husband was an MP stationed in Roswell in 1947 relayed to us the information that her husband, on his deathbed four years ago [1995], “confessed” to guarding the perimeter – but not picking up the debris – at the Foster/Brazel ranch site, while another woman told us that her husband, during the last year of his life, in 1995, finally told her of his involvement in the events.
After seeing a show on TV that featured the Roswell Incident, she at last asked him, “Well, Dear, is it true?” He answered, “Well, I suppose that it’s time I should tell you. I’ve been meaning to for a long time.” He had been a cook with the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell in 1947 and confirmed to her that he was simply grabbed one day and told to report to Building #84 (a hanger) on the base. He was given a gun and told to stand guard at the hangar with other similarly confiscated base personnel.
While on guard duty, he stole a look inside the hangar long enough to see debris scattered about and “small bodies” being prepared for shipment elsewhere…
There is so much wrong here, that I feel compelled to break the narrative. First we begin with one woman, who is not identified, repeating a tale told by her husband, who is not identified, telling her he had guarded some random debris at the Foster ranch. No way for anyone to independently verify this account, check to see if the guy was actually an MP at Roswell at the right time, though I will assume (and yes I know what that means) that Carey had the name and confirmed the man had been in Roswell in 1947.

Second, before we can blink, we’re off with another tale from a woman, who is not identified, and whose husband, who is not identified, is assigned to guard a hangar. He’s handed a weapon, but we don’t know if he is given any ammunition, which is a critical question, and who gets a look into the hangar. While this might seem plausible to someone who hadn’t served in the Army, it has its flaws. In basic training, we are all taught how to act as a guard, so he would have known, generally, what to do. I have trouble with assigning guards to the hangar and then letting the security lapse to the point where the guy gets to look inside and even glimpses the bodies. This seems as realistic to me as Philip Corso’s nonsense of opening a sealed crate at Fort Riley to see an alien corpse. I mean, if you’re going to all the trouble to mount a guard, it would seem that you’d lock a door or two and hide the really good stuff under a tarp, in a room off the hangar floor, or in a space where even if someone looked in, they wouldn’t see anything of value.

In the next paragraph we’re treated to “another case, the granddaughter of someone involved in the Roswell events (at this point, we do not know in what capacity he was involved) contacted us to say that her grandfather had just passed away and left ‘documents’ pertaining to Roswell that would prove something extraordinary had happened there in 1947. At this is being written, we have been negotiating for several months to received copies of some of these alleged documents prior to making an expensive trip for a personal interview and to review the originals.”
Once again, an unidentified source who heard the tale from her grandfather, who is unidentified, but with the promise of documents, which apparently never surfaced. Reminded me of the time I was working with a fellow who told me that his father had left him some documents that related to the Roswell case and would prove that it had happened. We finally worked out a way for me to see one of the pages so that I would know that he had the goods. Imagine my disappointment when he sent me a page from the MJ-12 Eisenhower Briefing Document. I don’t know if his father had actually left these things to him or if the guy just came up with the story to make it sound legitimate, but it was, quite naturally, a dead end.

Which seems to be the case with all these reports. Here we are a decade and a half later, and as far as I can tell, nothing important ever came from these stories. Just more rumor that couldn’t be verified because we have no names to go with them. I don’t know if these stories showed up in Carey’s and Don Schmitt’s book about Roswell, but do know there are unidentified sources in it.

None of these tales even rises to the level of any standard of testimony. They are just a bunch of stories cobbled together that seem to corroborate some of the Roswell testimony of others but there is no way to tell. As most of you know, I come to the Roswell table believing that something did fall there that doesn’t seem to have been manufactured on Earth, but these snippets of information just aren’t good enough to help prove it and probably shouldn’t have been reported until more information could be supplied. I hear the skeptics screaming for some way to verify, if nothing else, these guys were actually in Roswell at the right time.

And before you say, of course they were, I will mention that in the last decade and a half, I have listened to and seen stories of guys who weren’t in the military but make all sorts of claims about their service in Vietnam… They had documents, uniforms, photographs and medals and when confronted with their lies, claimed their records were “lost,” their missions “classified,” but who don’t even know some of the basics of military service. Sometimes, if you listen to their tales, you discover they are lifted from movies and often include the dialogue from those movies. Confront them and their friends and family will defend them, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Anyway, I felt compelled to mention these things before they become cemented into the Roswell lore… though some of that has already happened. If we are going to share these tales as the truth, then we had better be prepared to offer some way of learning if the “witness” was even in Roswell in 1947 otherwise we’re just spinning our wheels.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Ramey Memo Copyright Issues

For those interested in this, and covering the images of the Ramey memo posted on this blog over the last few weeks, I note, for copyright purposes:

These scans are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You are free to share and/or adapt these materials provided:
·         The use is for non-commercial purposes, and
·         You provide attribution. You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may not suggest the licensor endorses you or your use.
o   You must give appropriate citation and credit to
§  Kevin Randle, David Rudiak, Simon Schollum, and Jerry Morelock for scanning the negative; and

§  The Fort Worth Star Telegram Collection, Special Collections, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, where the negative is housed.

If there are any questions about this, they can be addressed in the comments section of this blog. We are now working to get the images posted on a site that will allow others to take a look at them and provide any thoughts on how to resolve them.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Temple, Oklahoma UFO Occupant Sighting

It has been claimed that the only case involving occupants, creatures associated with a landed UFO that was labeled as “Unidentified” was that from Socorro, New Mexico told by Lonnie Zamora in 1964. Although somewhat hidden in the Project Blue Book files, there is another that took place almost two years later. Hynek mentioned it in his book, The Hynek UFO Report, but he doesn’t give a location and he dates it with a newspaper clipping from the Dallas Times Herald.
Although Hynek suggests the case is from the Wichita Falls, Texas area and the witness, W. E. Laxson was a civilian employee at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, the Project Blue Book files list the case as Temple, Oklahoma. The newspaper clipping cited by Hynek is dated March 27, 1966, but the sighting occurred on March 23, 1966. With the misdirection from Hynek, probably a result of the classified nature of the case when he wrote his book, it took a while to deduce the facts.*
Hynek, using the newspaper account said there was nothing in it that varied from what was in the Blue Book file. That file said:
Observer [W. E. Eddie Laxson] was driving his car along the highway at approximately 0505 [a.m.], 23 March 1966, when he noticed an object parked on the road in front of him. He stopped the car and got out so as to get a better view of the object. The object was so parked that it blocked out a portion of the road curve sign. There were no sharp edges noted by the observer. The object had the appearance of a conventional aircraft (C-124) without wings or motors. There was a plexiglas [sic] bubble on top, similar to a B-26 canopy. As observer approached, he noticed a man wearing a baseball cap enter the object by steps from the bottom. After the man entered the object, it began to rise from the pavement and headed on a southeasterly direction at approximately 720 mph. The object had forward and aft lights that were very bright. As the object rose from the ground, a high speed drill type of sound was heard, plus a sound like that of welding rod when an arc is struck. Object was 75’ long, nearly 8’ from top to bottom and about 12’ wide. There were some type of supports up the bottom of the object.
After the object disappeared the witness got back into his car and drove approximately fifteen miles down the highway. At this time the original witness stopped and talked with another individual who had also stopped along the roadway to watch some lights over Red River which is approximately five or six miles to the southeast.
Various organizations were contacted around the Temple [Oklahoma] area for a possible experimental or conventional aircraft. The observer stated that he thought the object was some type of Army or Air Force research aircraft. All attempts at such an explanation proved fruitless, since there were no aircraft in the area at the time of the sighting. Although there are numerous helicopters and other experimental in the area, none could be put in the area of Temple at approximately 0500, 23 March 1966. Because of this factor the case is listed as unidentified by the Air Force.

The second witness, who was not interviewed by the Air Force and who, according to the Blue Book files did not file out their long and involved form, was C. W. Anderson. Anderson confirmed for the newspaper that he had seen the craft as well. He told the reporter, “I know that people will say that Laxson is durned crazy. But that’s what I saw.”
Anderson said that he thought the object had been following him down the road. He had watched it in his rearview mirror for several miles. The problem for the Air Force was that Anderson did not complete their form. He didn’t see the pilot or crewman either.
Laxson's drawing from the Project Blue Book files.
The drawing of the object made by Laxson, resembled, grossly, that Lonnie Zamora had made of the craft he saw, which means it was sort of egg-shaped. It was certainly longer and was lying on its side. Like Zamora, Laxson said that he saw symbols on the object, but unlike Zamora, he recognized them. He told the report that, “On the side I made out… ‘TLA’ with the last two figures ’38.’”
In what might be described as a fit of honesty, the Air Force admitted they had no solution for the case. The description of the “alien” was more human than humanoid and he seemed to be dressed in conventional clothes right to the “mechanics” hat. Investigation revealed a second witness and that might have influenced the Air Force, especially since the men had never met prior to the sighting. In the end, they labeled the case as “Unidentified.”

*It should be noted that Hynek used the information that was available in non-classified sources to write The Hynek Report. When Hynek wrote his book, the Blue Book files were still classified, but by the publication date, they would be declassified and housed at the Air Force Archives at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. Here’s what all this means. At the time, the mid-1970s, a book would be handed in to a publisher and it would be between a year and 18 months before that book would be available, which means, when Hynek actually wrote it, the files would have still be classified… and upon publication it wasn’t common knowledge that the files were declassified. Hynek cannot be faulted for using the publicly available information rather than the classified sources to which he might no longer been granted access.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The 1949 Roswell UFO Crash

The other day, as I was looking over some of my old files and interviews I found an interview that I had done nothing with at the time. At the risk of offending all those who get annoyed if I mention Roswell and accuse me of being obsessed with it, I thought this might be of interest. I remember nothing about this interview. It took place in late 1995 with Colonel Claude N. Burcky, who, in 1947 was a major assigned to the 390th Air Service Squadron.

Claude N. Burcky
I confirmed that I was talking to the right man and that he had been in Roswell in 1947 (though the Yearbook confirmed that as well). He told me, “I was base operations officer… and I knew of it [the alleged crash] and we knew that security requirements relative to it…” (I must note here that in July 1947, there were two base operations officers. First was Lieutenant Colonel James Hopkins and then Lieutenant Colonel Joe Briley.)

But Burcky told me he hadn’t seen anything first hand. He said, “Since I didn’t see anything and the only thing that I was told was that such and such hangar was off limits to everyone and that the parts, pieces and so forth that were picked up and put on this trailer… and put into that hangar and no one could get in there until the stuff was moved.”

He also said that he had heard the stories of alien bodies but that he had not seen them himself. So, he was providing some interesting second-hand testimony about what went on during that time but given the state of Roswell research today, it really adds little to our knowledge and might be seen as complicating it even more. I asked about the debris, but he hadn’t seen any of it either, and only knew what he had heard.

I said, “So you really didn’t see anything like that yourself? So all you’re really aware of is some event took place.”

He said, “Yeah, and I assigned a guy to drive the trailer, the vehicle that went out… you see it happened on the bombing range.”

And this is where the tale became interesting because the bombing range was south of the base and that suggested something had happened much farther south of Roswell. I had heard nothing of a crash site south of Roswell and even today there seems to be nothing to support that idea and I’ve talked to a number of people about this. Everything was more or less north of town and more or less north of the base. This didn’t fit with what I knew.

But there was something that I did know. There was a reported crash south of Roswell in 1949 and wondered if that might a source of confusion.  I learned that on February 11, 1949, Paul L. Ryan, in the AFOSI 17th District at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque prepared a report about an “Aerial Phenomena,” that had been observed on January 30. He wrote, “…Mr. Charles Naffziger, Administrative Supervisor, advised that a peculiar light or aerial phenomena had been observed at 1755 hours [or about six in the evening], 30 January 1949, in the vicinity of Walker AFB [originally Roswell Army Air Field], Roswell, New Mexico, and that Sgt. Edward P. McCrary, a tower control operator of Walker AFB be contacted.”

The next day, January 31, several of those at Roswell were interviewed about the sighting. The official report said:

…a blue-green light resembling a flare was observed travelling on a horizontal line. This light came out of the North headed South at an estimated altitude of 2,000 feet, moving slowly, and disappeared in the vicinity of SE Walker Air Force Base. To some observers, this phenomenon disappeared in its entirety while other statements mention a disappearance as a disintegration into a shower of smaller lighted fragments such as a shower of sparks. The only sound accompanying this object was heard by Sgt. McCrary, who described it as a high pitched whining noise similar to a blowtorch. All of these observers sighting this light from a position west of it while facing east.
One of those men was Sergeant Raymond D. Platt, who I interviewed more than forty years later. He provided a little more detail, saying the he, “didn’t believe it was a flying saucer. He believed it to be a meteor.” In 1949 he was “interrogated by base personnel, the CIC and the FBI.”

He said it was flying very slow, was very bright and it exploded into six or seven pieces. It was travelling at a very shallow angle, going from north to south and was bright white and blue. It burned out after it exploded, which is why he lost sight of it.

There were other reports of this object from other areas around Roswell. In Alamogordo, Major James C. Petersen, said that he had sighted a single bright green object looking to the east. He said it was a bright green fireball of flame travelling in a southerly direction, without evidence of smoke or trail of any kind. He lost sight of it when it, according to him, seemed “to fizzle out.”

Also in Alamogordo, Wilfred T. Martin, who worked as a technician for the Boeing Aircraft Company, said that about six in the evening, he saw a single green fireball to the east and travelling to the south. He saw no signs of an exhaust; he watched for about ten seconds and said that it did not explode.

Martin was with Sergeant Maurice C. Anthon at the time and who was also interviewed about the sighting in 1949. He said, “I observed an object that appeared to be travelling diagonally across in front of me… Its distance seemed very close and appeared to be travelling very slowly… Gentle downward glide, bright burning (Green and yellowish light) a fizzling out and then a bright burning, and then appeared to die out. This could have been the effects of its passing beyond my view.”

PFC Ira W. Vail, assigned to the weather detachment at Holloman AFB in Alamogordo told investigators in 1949 that he had “seen a green ball of flame with a trail of some kind in an Easterly direction.” Vail described the object as traveling in a Southerly direction and added that the object was visible for approximately six seconds. Vail described the object as “bright green and disappeared without exploding.”

There were other, similar reports coming from other parts of New Mexico and west Texas. The track of the object, or the green fireball, could be plotted based on the observations of the witnesses, and the investigators took many of them to the places where they had seen the fireball to get accurate measurements suggesting height and direction. Using the information gathered from more than 100 witnesses, Dr. Lincoln La Paz set out in an attempt to find where the object came to earth, if it was an ordinary meteor. He said that he’d have very good luck in the past finding the remains of meteors (in this case a meteorite.

According to the report, “Special Agent [Lewis] Rickett [a member of the Counter Intelligence Corps stationed in Roswell and who said he was involved in the UFO crash there in 1947] continued the search throughout Southeast New Mexico and West Texas from 1400 hours, 2 February 1949, to 2400 hours 8 February 1949, in the company of Dr. Lincoln La Paz of the University of New Mexico.”

A verbal report of that activity was made to the Scientific Advisory Board Conference of February 16, 1949. La Paz said:

In the case of the January 30th fall, due to the fact that there had been a large number of military personnel alerted, we were able to obtain observations within a minute after the fall occurred and pursued the investigation over a distance of 1,000 miles – in Texas mud primarily – in some ten days’ time interviewing literally hundreds of people, we saw not one substantial account of noise produced by the meteorite fall…
These lines are drawn [on a map of observers’ sightings, giving direction of the object from the observer and the direction of travel] from the points of observation. The center… of the points of appearance is somewhere Southwest of Amarillo or South-southwest of Amarillo. The disappearance point is in the vicinity of Lubbock, Texas.
La Paz explained that his plots suggested that the meteorite, if that was what it was, should have struck the ground near Lamesa, Texas, which is to the south of Lubbock. Working with a team, including military men such as Rickett, Platt and Neef, they searched the area for several days without results. La Paz was puzzled because in similar cases of large, bright meteorites, he had had great success in recovering fragments.

What struck me here was that Burcky talked of something to the south of the base and this was in the general direction of the bombing range. Platt said that he had been interrogated by people from the base, the CIC and the FBI which suggests that they thought there might be some sort of national security implication but not necessarily indicative of alien visitation. This also sort of describes La Paz, a civilian who was in Roswell interviewing the witnesses. It might be that Burcky confused his statements about what happened in 1947 with what happened in 1949.

Just to end a bit of confusion, it is clear to me and practically anyone else who looks at the 1949 sighting is that it was one of the green fireballs. There was a classified study of them being made in 1949 so there was a national security implication. When the sightings ended, even though there was a bit of controversy about what the green fireballs really were, it was determined that they posed no threat. The documentation and reports were eventually declassified so that we all can see what was being done back in the late 1940s.

I believe that I did nothing with this report because it suggested another site south of Roswell and there was nothing else to back it up. There was no testimony from any ranchers, no soldiers said they had gone out there, and everything else pointed to the events north of town. The report is just one of those anomalies that spring up when dealing with memories that are decades old, though I suspect that those who enjoy creating long lists of UFO crashes will use this tale to validate those claims regardless of the solution. The January 1949 event was a green fireball and not an alien ship.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Marcel Pictures

While I'm not sure why it is important in a discussion of the Ramey memo, there are those who wanted to see the scans of Marcel. These are the full negative scans and the copyright, as it has been defined, still resides with the University of Texas - Arlington Special Collections. If they ask that the pictures be removed, then I will comply.

These scans allow us all to see the full photograph along with the edges of the negatives. I do not believe these have been published before in this form.

And, for those who haven't seen the picture of Irving Newton, taken sometime after those of Marcel, Ramey, and Ramey and Dubose, this is the best copy I have. The photo credit that I have on it is the Bettmann Photo Archive, which has been acquired by Corbis, I believe.

It should be clear to anyone looking at these pictures that they show the remains of a weather balloon and a rawin radar target. There is no sign of any other debris in the pictures and certainly nothing that could be considered alien.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Ramey Pictures

I hadn't realized that the pictures of Ramey would become so important and there would be a few who thought you can't understand this without seeing the "missing" Ramey picture. There has been an offer to share this picture with others, though it seems that permission must be obtained from another, I found this which came out of the trip to the University of Texas at Arlington in April. It certainly won't appease everyone, but at least you all can have a look at the missing Ramey photo that apparently only appeared in the newspaper and that the negative is not available.

The Ramey/Dubose pictures are obviously those of Ramey and Dubose with Dubose cropped out. The missing Ramey is from the newspaper.

So now all four pictures taken of Ramey are available here. I will note, for those interested, that the copyright is the University of Texas - Arlington Special Collections, and this particular piece is a composite that is not available online. Further copyright belongs to David Rudiak who made the composite.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Timing of the Roswell Photographs

It has long been the contention of those who worked with J. Bond Johnson on the attempt to read the Ramey memo that Johnson did not take the two photographs of Jesse Marcel holding up what looks to be debris of a weather balloon. I never really understood why that was so because the pictures seemed to be of the same quality as those that Johnson did say he took.

The Roswell Photo Interpretation Team including Ron Regehr and Neil Morris, determined by looking at the shadows and sunlight as seen through the curtains
Ron Regehr (Photo copyright
by Kevin Randle
in Ramey’s office that the pictures of Marcel were taken at 3:15 p.m. and that would have been Tuesday afternoon, July 8, 1947. Given the timing of the events, as they have reconstructed them, this means that Johnson couldn’t have taken those two pictures. And, if their estimate of the time is correct, then their assumption is also correct.

I have never understood exactly how they made this interpretation. They talked of measuring shadows seen outside of Ramey’s office, but I don’t know if they had ever been to the base to make measurements, if the building in which Ramey had his office can be identified if it is still standing and how they determined the precise angle of the sun on July 8, 1947. What it is today doesn’t necessarily match what it would have been in 1947. Or, to put it in fewer words, I believe they made many assumptions to come up with the conclusions they wanted.

Here’s what we know based on the documentation. According to the time line published in the Daily Illini on July 9, the first of the AP alerts sounded at 4:26 p.m. Central Time (Fort Worth), or 3:26 Mountain Time (Roswell). Since Johnson had said, repeatedly he learned of the debris coming to Fort Worth from his editor and it seemed that the editor had the news bulletin, that means Johnson couldn’t have received word until after the Marcel photographs were taken.

The RPIT has concluded that there was another photographer there about two hours before Johnson arrived. It was this other photographer who took the two pictures of Marcel. Johnson at one point said that another fellow who worked at the newspaper in 1947 said that Ramey owed them a favor and had called the Star – Telegram to alert them about the situation. It was this man, never identified by Johnson or anyone else, who had taken those first pictures.

The problem here is that no one has ever come forward to claim to have taken the pictures of Marcel. After all the publicity surrounding these events, after all the times the pictures have been shown on television or published in books and magazines, it would seem that the man (and since this was 1947 I’m assuming it was a man) would have appeared to tell us that. Johnson, after all, and according to his own words, had been to Fort Worth to try to find his pictures after he had seen them on a television show or two.

And then there is where the negative of Marcel was filed. It was in the same envelop at the University of Texas – Arlington Library Special Collections as those of Ramey. That means the picture came from the Fort Worth Star – Telegram and that means they were taken by a photographer from that newspaper. But, again, according to Johnson, he claimed more than once he was the only one dispatched from there and to hear him tell it, he was the only one who took photographs in Ramey’s office, overlooking or belittling the picture of Irving Newton crouched in front of the same debris in relatively the same locations as it appears in the other photographers.

There is something else in all this. Johnson said that when he returned to the newspaper office, there was a “whole barrage” of people waiting for him. These were technicians from Dallas who had brought transmitting equipment to Fort Worth so that they could send a picture over the news wires. Johnson was told to develop the film and bring out a wet print because they were in such a big hurry to see what had been found and to get it out over the wire.

But, if there had been another photographer there, who could have been from a newspaper in the area though Johnson said it was from the Star – Telegram, he would have had, at the very least, a two hour head start on Johnson. His pictures,
Jesse Marcel with a view of the opening in the
curtains. Photo copyright by the Special
Collection, UTA.
of Marcel, would have gone out over the news wire probably before Johnson could have returned to his office in Fort Worth with his pictures, though there is no evidence of this. While Johnson’s pictures would have been important because they would have been different, they wouldn’t have been so critical that his editor wanted a “wet” print. They could have waited for Johnson to dry them properly. And, there is no indication from any of the archive services that any other picture, except the one of Newton which is clearly different than those first six, were ever taken.

Johnson had to be the photographer and the estimate of the time of the photographs based on looking through a slit in the curtains of Ramey’s office seems to be an amazing bit of deduction. The documentation from the time, Johnson’s own recollections of what he had been told and then related to me in the first two interviews he had ever given (yes, I was the first to interview him… I know this because I found in my notes that I had asked him about it and he said that no one had ever interviewed him) that Ramey told him it was a weather balloon, and what was written in that very first article in the Star – Telegram, sinks much of what he said later.

I won’t even bother to go through all of that again. Much of the information gathered in those first two interviews appeared in the International UFO Reporter (March/April 1990) and (November/December 1990). These articles outline the first interviews with Johnson and our (Don Schmitt and me) attempts to make some sense out of everything. The second article outlines the alterations in Johnson’s statements after his “interviews” with Bill Moore and Jaime Shandera. The critical interviews, that is, the ones I conducted are on tape.

The trouble here is that Johnson told so many stories, modified, changed and deleted information almost at a whim. We can believe the things that are corroborated by others and documentation and we can reject nearly everything else. Johnson’s desire to become an important part of the Roswell story ended up changing him from a valuable witness into just another clamoring for his fifteen minutes of fame regardless of the facts.

Monday, November 09, 2015

J. Bond Johnson's Statement on His Visit to General Ramey

Since it has been suggested that Ramey had invited reporters from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to his office, and since some of the quoted material came from a web site that hosted an interview with J. Bond Johnson, the reporter, I thought I could clarify some of this by posting the following. This is from my second interview with Johnson, made about a month after he called me, left his telephone number on my answering machine asking me to return the call. I note here that Johnson claimed I had called him cold and he had no opportunity to review his notes or the
Johnson's picture of General Ramey
holding the memo. Photo copyright
by the University of Texas at Arlington.
newspaper articles that appeared in 1947… though in the first interview he actually reads the July 9, 1947 article that he claimed to have written. Or, in other words, he was not called cold. There are other indications in that interview that he had already reviewed his “UFO” file, that he had talked to Betsy Hudon at the University of Texas at Arlington, and he was aware that she had forwarded a copy of my letter to him which gave him my telephone number. She wouldn’t tell me who he was but she did say she would forward a letter to him to facilitate our communication.

In my March 24, 1989 interview, I said, “Could you just sort of tell me what you did… what transpired when your editor gave you the assignment to go out to the base.” In response, Johnson said:

My name is initial J Bond, it’s also James Bond Johnson. I’m the original [referring obviously to the master spy by the name of Bond, James Bond). I was a reporter and back up photographer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in July 1947 after having served in the Air Corps as a pilot-cadet in World War Two.
On the… Tuesday, July 8, 1947, late in the afternoon, I returned from an assignment to my office in the city room of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram which was both a morning and afternoon newspaper. My city editor of the morning paper ran over and said, “Bond, have you got your camera?” I said, “Yes,” I had it in my car. I had a four by five Speed Graphic that I had bought recently and I kept it in the car because I was working nights and police and so forth and had it at the ready. He said, “Go out to Ramey’s office and, he said, they’ve got something there [and] that to get a picture. I don’t recall what it he called it. He said they’ve flown something down… I don’t think he called it something… he gave it a name because I was kind of prepared for what I was going to see. He said something crashed out there or whatever and they’re… we just got an alert on the AP wire [emphasis added to prove a point] … though it might have been the UPI… that the Air Force or the Air Corps as it was called then [actually it was the Army Air Forces in July 1947] is flying it down from Roswell on orders from General Ramey. It would be located in his office. It was or would be by the time I got out there.
So I drove directly to Carswell [Fort Worth Army Air Field in July 1947] and my recollections now are I went in and I opened my carrying case with my Graphic and I had brought just one holder with me with two pieces of the 4 X 5 film. Black and white of course. I posed General Ramey with this debris piled in the middle of his rather large and plush office. It seemed incongruous to have this smelly garbage piled on the floor… spread out on the floor of this plush, big office that was probably, oh, 16 by 20 at least.
I posed General Ramey with this debris. At that time, I was briefed on the idea that it was not a flying disk as first reported but in fact was a weather balloon that had crashed. I returned to my office. I was met by a barrage of people that were unknown to me. These were people who had come over from Dallas… In those days, any time we had… we normally bussed any prints that we were sending to the AP, we bussed them to Dallas to be transmitted on the wire photo machines. We had a receiver but not a sender in Fort Worth in those days. And no faxes.
After a discussion of how they transmitted the pictures and we chatted about all the pictures including the ones of Major Jesse Marcel that Johnson would later claim he hadn’t taken, he said, “It is entirely possible that I was briefed by the PIO.”

We can take this even further. Dennis Balthaser published an interview with Johnson that can be found here:

During that interview, Balthaser said, “Finally, another researcher seems to remember a statement you made that the paper in General Ramey’s hand was a press release that you handed to General Ramey. Can you verify that as a true statement you would have made in a previous interview? If yes, please explain.”
Johnson said, “Yes, that was an early speculation of mine that I might have handed Ramey the copy of the AP ‘flash’ my editor had given me regarding the Roswell crash craft being flown to Fort Worth. Obviously I was in error in that speculation.”

What all this shows is that the information about the debris going to Fort Worth was in an AP news alert and had nothing to do with Ramey inviting people out to the base. We don’t have to speculate about this because we have the information from the reporter who was involved in it provided before he began think of himself as “the Roswell photographer.”

We can corroborate all of this from the news stories that appeared at the time and the chronology that was published in the Daily Illini. I also recovered a transmittal letter sent with the photographs that gave the date as July 8, 1947, the time as 11:59 p.m. and the photographer as J. Bond Johnson.  Later, we can see that Johnson dramatically altered his story attempting to put himself into the spotlight. He went so far as to deny that he had written the story that appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on July 9, a story that he had told me he had written. He said during my first interview with him, “Seven nine [July 9] is my story on the front page that was in earlier … [which, of course, negates the idea that I called him cold and he hadn’t reviewed his UFO file].”

The problem for Johnson’s claim that they didn’t know what it was when he was there is the last paragraph in that article. It said, “After his first look, Ramey declared all it was was a weather balloon. The weather officer verified his view.”

For those who wish to follow this to its end, I did a blog posting on October 9, 2009, about the whole Johnson tale. It can be found here:

This then should end the idea that Ramey invited anyone out to his office. The story was on the news wire and the astute editors and reporters would think of calling Ramey on their own. He received telephone calls from far away and even did a telephone interview with a reporter on the West Coast. The idea that it was a weather balloon quickly killed the story and just hours after it broke on the news wires the interest faded.

But the point is that Ramey did not call anyone and invite them to his office. The testimony and the evidence negates that idea. Johnson may have well taken the teletype alert with him but we don’t know. He might well have taken it into General Ramey’s office but we don’t know. The evidence for that is contradictory because Johnson spun many tales about what he did and didn’t do in General Ramey’s office. However, given what we can prove, it would seem that we no longer have to speculate about the reason Johnson went out to the base.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Additional Ramey Memo Scans

While most of the new scans have been provided to a number of people including several skeptics (though some of them suggested they weren’t all that interested in pursuing the Ramey memo) we haven’t had a chance to learn of their results if there are any.

I have a couple of other files that are small enough to put on this blog and they will follow. But I did one thing that I believe was an idea by Barry Greenwood. In his report, “Ramey Memo Redux – Line 5,” he wrote, “Getting a little weary I noticed a cardboard pair of 3-D red/blue glasses from some leftover movie I had once seen… Looking at it I said, ‘Oh, why not.’ … Oddly enough using the 3-D filters somehow injected a small amount of clarity into the image… It was certainly not enough to make the blobs more readable but it was enough to make patterns stand out.”His article can be seen here:

which is UFO Historical Review No. 13, September 2009).

I have to admit here that (a) I also have some of those old 3-D glasses and I tried it as well, and (b) yes, it did seem to enhance some areas of the Ramey memo. Greenwood wrote, “A few words like ‘…AT FORT WORTH, TEX.” And ‘THE ‘DISC’…” seem to stand out enough to gain a general consensus to these decipherments.” I have to agree with this. Those words do seem to stand out a little more clearly but for those who visit here regularly, notice that Greenwood did agree with those earlier interpretations.

With that in mind, I thought I would add some of the new scans here so that more can take a look at them. While they might look the same, they were created using different contrasts and filters. There are other files that are quite large approaching a quarter of a gigabyte (and yes, I know there are files out there much larger than this, but I really can’t post them to this blog… I have suggested to a couple of people that those with web sites as opposed to blogs could put them up but so far there have been no takers). Yes, I believe that a wider dissemination might provide us with the key to reading the memo and we’re working to accomplish that. (I will remind everyone here that these new scans are copyrighted by the University of Texas at Arlington and by Martin Dreyer so that while fair use is in play publication without proper credit is a violation.)

For those interested, the work continues, but the problem is that the going is slow. I had hoped to have all this wrapped up months ago with everything easily available. We are attempting to get it out there now. Any suggestions on how to do this will be appreciated.